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The Indiana Daily Student

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COLUMN: NTT IndyCar Series takes weekend off before Road America race next weekend

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Coupling the weeks of preparation for the Indianapolis 500 alongside back-to-back race weekends, the NTT IndyCar Series is off this weekend, allowing teams and drivers to recoup prior to the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America next Sunday, June 18.

Since winning the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou went on to win the pole for the Indianapolis 500, finishing in the fourth position in his fourth Indy 500.

After leaving Indianapolis, IndyCar headed to Detroit, Michigan, for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. Palou continued his impressive season by winning the pole in Detroit and eventually went on to win the race for his second victory in three races.

Palou dominated the GMR Grand Prix and the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. He was on his way to do the same in Indianapolis 500 until he was caught up in an incident on the pit lane with Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay in which VeeKay lost control of his car and collided with Palou.

Not only has Palou stood out as the best driver in the field in the past three races, but the series has also produced outstanding racing in that time. Captivating battles for positions throughout the field — a quality that makes IndyCar the best motorsports series in the world — have made this season entertaining.

When stacking up the racing products of IndyCar, Formula One and NASCAR, each series has its own strengths and weaknesses. Throughout the IndyCar season to this point, fans have seen competitive racing, unpredictable races and a new documentary that followed drivers and teams through the 100 days leading up to the Indy 500. When comparing what IndyCar fans have seen to what fans of Formula One and NASCAR have seen, IndyCar far outweighs other forms of motorsports.

Having completed seven of 17 races and being just shy of the halfway point of the season, a weekend off is a much-needed break for drivers and teams before heading to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, next weekend for the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America.

With the Month of May and the Detroit Grand Prix completed, there are a few storylines worth following as the series returns to Road America for the 34th time.

Ryan Hunter-Reay relieving Conor Daly in the Ed Carpenter Racing No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet

IndyCar fan-favorite Conor Daly and Ed Carpenter Racing mutually agreed to end their relationship Wednesday, effective immediately, per release.

With an open seat and several drivers vying for an opportunity, team owner Ed Carpenter chose 2012 IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Hunter-Reay made his most recent IndyCar start last month where he finished in the 11th position in the Indianapolis 500. He last raced full-time in the IndyCar Series in 2021 for Andretti Autosport.

Alex Palou’s dominance

After finishing in first, fourth and first place in the past three races respectively, Palou now leads the point standings by 51 points over Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Marcus Ericsson.

The 2021 IndyCar champion has now set himself up for another championship run after a fifth-place point standings finish in 2022. If Palou continues the season with the strong finishes he’s had through seven races this season, he will be champion of the series once again.

Road America repave completed

It was announced on November 3, 2022, that Road America completed its replacement project of the racing surface of the 4.048-mile racecourse. The most recent repave of the track took place in 1995. Milling and grinding of the track began on October 3 and was followed by fine grading, a new base layer and a new final surface asphalt layer in late October, per release.

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